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The IFL could be down for the count for good

jay-larkin.jpgThe IFL held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce their decision to cancel their next planned card scheduled for August 15 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

IFL CEO and President Jay Larkin addressed reporters on the call, stating that in addition to canceling the event, the promotion will continue to downsize its workforce and is reviewing their contractual obligations with several of their coaches. There are no current plans to cut fighters from its roster.

While the IFL is not declaring bankruptcy and is technically not suspending operations, today’s news casts an even bleaker outlook for the company going forward. The primary reason behind the cancellation of the August event was because the show could put the company in financial jeopardy, according to Larkin.

Larkin stated that in recent months the company has sought out additional funding so that the company could continue operations. The former SHOWTIME executive indicated that when seeking new partners and additional financing, no stone has been left unturned. According to Larkin, discussions with major financial companies, competing fight companies, television networks, media companies, film studios, and celebrities have all taken place. While many of the prospective investors greeted the opportunity of working with the IFL with initial excitement, they’ve been unable to consummate a deal.

By cancelling the August show, Larkin believes that the IFL will have the needed cash flow to continue to seek out a new partner or a new owner. He would not give a timetable as to how long the company would operate before seeking protection from creditors, but insiders have indicated to FiveOuncesOfPain.com that it is unlikely that the IFL has the funding needed to keep its offices open past October.

Larkin refused to wave the proverbial white flag during Tuesday’s conference call, however, if the promotion could not secure a key strategic partner during full-scale operations, the likelihood of securing such a partner greatly decreases under the terms of what amounts to an indefinite hiatus. If the IFL is out of sight, it could be out of the minds of potential partners.

Larkin also addressed the status of the IFL’s roster of fighters, perhaps the company’s greatest asset. The fight promotion has plans to work with other promotions so that their fighters can remain active while the promotion attempts to restructure. When asked if he would consider releasing a fighter if said fighter received a lucrative offer that was contingent on the fighter being an unrestricted free agent, Larkin commented that they will evaluate the future of their fighters on a case-by-case basis. He stated that he’s not keen about the idea of selling off fighter contracts but that the promotion will not charge other promotions to use its fighters.

In general, Larkin expressed pessimism about the financial strength of the sport. He stated that with EliteXC’s debut on CBS, the IFL was looking for a win so that competing networks would have an interest in doing deals with fight companies. Instead of a win, Larkin believes that EliteXC on CBS was a draw, as he claimed that while the show was a ratings success, the criticism expressed by various members of the media not only has other networks cautious about getting involved, but that the brass at CBS is taking the criticism into consideration before moving forward with MMA.

He also expressed a belief that the majority of existing MMA fans may not be educated enough about the sport itself to appreciate MMA outside of the UFC and stated at one point that he believes many MMA promotions are either inflating or outright lying about their reported ticket sales.

Other interesting items from the press conference include Larkin’s statement that as of today, the IFL has no debt; his belief that the IFL and EliteXC appear to him as a natural fit for a rollup; and that he’s heard that network television is exploring the possibility of televising boxing again.

16 COMMENTS
  • Evan says:

    Hey Sam what do you mean here? Rollup? You mean merge?

    “the IFL has no debt; his belief that the IFL and EliteXC appear to him as a natural fit for a rollup; “

  • Sam Caplan says:

    A rollup is a financial term for consolidation within an industry. It can either be through acquisition or merger.

  • Evan says:

    Thanks Sam.

  • […] publicly expressed interest in either selling the company or forming strategic partnerships, but it doesn’t appear that anything has come to fruition yet. Larkin stated that in recent months the company has sought out additional funding so that the […]

  • iamphoenix says:

    i can imagine jay larkin and gary shaw enjoying a fruit rollup as well, sam caplan…

  • […] that he?s heard that network television is exploring the possibility of televising boxing again. Five Ounces of Pain | The IFL could be down for the count for good __________________ Silent Dragon Mixed Martial Arts Franklin, Ohio "Luck = a loser’s […]

  • mo says:

    man these things make Dana look smarter and smarter. Sam, I would love to see an article at some point highlighting what it takes for an MMA organization to stay afloat, and why all of these other organizations are built to fail. and do these other organizations out there have a chance of staying power or do they have potential pitfalls as well. Obviously it is all money, but with the IFL having a network deal (I’m sure it wasn’t lucrative, but still it was something) and not a lot of expensive fighters like some of these other leagues, I don’t see a direct reason why it couldn’t stay afloat

  • bjjdenver says:

    The IFL failed because of lack of name recognition and that fans didn’t embrace the team concept.

    They have all but completely gone away from that, but few people are watching to see that they have put on some of the best cards of 2008 and built some pretty good fighters.

    Dana doesn’t need another promotions failure to make him look smarter. He helped save a failing promotion and turned it into the industry leader, that makes him look smart.

    and #6 mo, I would like to see that as well. Why a promotion like IFL fails, yet a promotion such as Strikeforce for instance, thrives.

  • ultmma says:

    #6 you must be president of the DW fan club. the world does not revolve around (Nelson, Rothedana he just thinks it does

    The IFL just jumped in the deep end too soon for their own good.

    The UFC struggled for a good 4 years under the Zuffa mantle before they flipped profit.

    IFL had potential and turned MMA fans on to some real good fighters ( Nelson, Rothewell W fabiano, Schultz) and revied some careers as well ( Vlady and Hieron).

    The team concept, the lack of live fight cards, and the mishandling of their network deal are some of things that put them in too deep of a hole to crawl out of

  • Kogepan says:

    I think its good to consolidate. Either the fighters disperse and sign with UFC/Elite/Strikeforce/Dream/WVR or they merge with another org.

  • Vern says:

    I will be buying IFL as I won $2 in the Mr. McMahon million dollar giveaway.

  • THORAZINE says:

    Sorry the IFL didn’t make it. On a positive note for the IFL Fighters, more oppportunites have now sprung up with new companies, like ELITE XC and AFFLICTION.

    The IFL has developed some really good fighters!

  • michael says:

    i’ve heard bits of his conference call on several mma sites he blames the mma fans for not watching,and now says the networks are going to show boxing,SOURGRAPES PAL go talk to Don King and turn the IFL into a boxing club,maybe if you signed some top talent that fans have heard of they would watch,hell my dumb ass watches the IFL i’ve got every show,I even watch DEEP from japan but in america you have to have some star power.there’s some good fighters in the IFL but no STARS.You had Ben Rothwell and YOU LET HIM GO STUPID.There’s no more to say Larkin just look in the mirror this boat was sinking before you got on.

  • […] signaling perhaps the eventual demise of the struggling mixed martial arts promotion. In fact, FiveOuncesOfPain.com is reporting that it is “unlikely that the IFL has the funding needed to keep its offices […]

  • […] fact, FiveOuncesOfPain.com is reporting that it is “unlikely that the IFL has the funding needed to keep its offices […]

  • […] fact, FiveOuncesOfPain.com is reporting that it is “unlikely that the IFL has the funding needed to keep its offices […]

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